Paris (NVI): For the first time in UNESCO’s history, over 100 ministers and 100 university representatives from around the world converged here to work out international measures to improve inclusion and mobility in higher education.
The delegates at the UNESCO’s General Conference examined ways in which governments and higher education institutions can work together to meet the pressing challenge of creating a more inclusive global campus that can handle rapidly growing enrolment in higher education and increasing student mobility.
They also envisaged ways for the world’s higher education sector to counter increasing inequalities and include marginalized groups.
“In the field of higher education, multilateralism and UNESCO in particular, have a key role to play,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay as she opened the meeting.
“We need to take actions to enhance international cooperation in higher education, reinforce knowledge sharing, academic exchanges and mobility, and create a fair, transparent and inclusive global campus that offers quality, inclusive and lifelong learning opportunities for all,” Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education, said.
The global higher education landscape is rapidly changing with increasing internationalization, diversification of providers, and new modes of learning.
Some 220 million students are currently enrolled in higher education worldwide, twice as many as ten years ago and further growth is expected, especially in Africa.
The unprecedented increase of enrolment in higher education in the past decades is matched by growing student mobility, leading to the gradual emergence a global campus of learners, faculty and researchers.
In the decade leading up to 2011, the number of learners choosing to study abroad more than doubled to 4.3 million students – a figure that is conservatively estimated to double again by 2025, a UNESCO statement said.